Tributes paid to ‘inspirational’ man who founded Hitchin British Schools Museum

Brian Limbrick lecturing in the Gallery Classroom in 1994, the year the museum opened.

Brian Limbrick lecturing in the Gallery Classroom in 1994, the year the museum opened. - Credit: Archant

TRIBUTES have been paid to an “inspirational figure” who founded one of Comet country’s most renowned cultural attractions.

Hitchin resident Brian Limbrick died last week, aged 81.

He saved the building which is now home to Hitchin’s British Schools Museum from being sold and developed in the 1990s, and subsequently founded the museum in 1993.

The Queen Street site was a school up until the 1960s, with Mr Limbrick a former pupil.

A former Hitchin Forum and Friends of the British Schools Museum president, the grandfather of three and father of one was also awarded an MBE in 2003 for services to the history of education.

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His wife of 48 years, Yvonne, said: “The MBE was the proudest moment of Brian’s life. He was thrilled and he definitely wanted to share that with the British Schools Museum.

“Brian was a people person, he loved people. He was a crusader, really. He had a number of passions and founded the Offley Morris Men. He was very, very well known for the barn dances that he did in the area and nationally. Every time he went into Lister Hospital, there would be someone come up and mention it.

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“Brian loved Hitchin. He had a passion for Hitchin and subsequently a passion for the British Schools.”

Museum manager Andy Gibbs said tributes have been pouring in from across the world, with people from as far away as Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Australia paying their respects to the stalwart.

He said: “This is a very sad time for us. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Brian.

“He was an inspirational figure with an unquenchable and infectious enthusiasm for the museum and for the town of Hitchin.

“He will never be forgotten here and will continue to be an inspiration for us as we strive to build upon his remarkable achievements.”

Hitchin Forum has also paid tribute to Mr Limbrick.

Chairman Mike Clarke said: “Brian was larger than life, and a lion who championed Hitchin.

“British Schools was his big project, and he put that on the national map, but he treasured and fought for many other parts of the town.

“As such, he was a strong supporter of Hitchin Forum from its inception, angry at anything which looked likely to spoil the town, and enthusiastically encouraging any campaign for sensible development. He had a vast store of knowledge about the history which made any conversation an education for the listener.

“We were delighted when he became our president two years ago and mourn the loss of someone who gave so much to the town.”

Mr Limbrick’s funeral will be held at 2pm tomorrow (Friday) at St Mary’s Church, Hitchin.

It’s family flowers only, but donations can be made to the Hitchin British Schools Trust.

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